Three 'violent young men' who carried out a string of knife-wielding robberies across Northamptonshire have been jailed for a total of 19 years.
Alan Nimmo, 19, of Boon Walk, Corby, Louis Hall, 18, of Nelson Street, Kettering, and Andrew Cornwall, 21, of no fixed abode, all pleaded guilty to conspiracy to rob in April.
The men hit One Stop Shops, a Co-op and a Tesco in six raids between January 15 and 23 this year across the county, on each occasioning threatening staff with a machete.
The court heard how Cornwall had played a lesser role in the conspiracy and on two occasions plucky shopkeepers refused to open the tills for the robbers.
Sentencing them yesterday, Judge Michael Stokes QC said: "You were deliberately targeting various locations, vulnerable premise in Weldon, Kettering, Burton Latimer, Corby, Rothwell and Thrapston.
"These separate incidents involved two, sometimes three men, mainly disguised and with two of you possessing a weapon – a knife and a machete."
Opening the case, prosecutor James Keeley described the robbers as 'violent young men' with a number of previous convictions who had deliberately targeted the local stores "during the hours of darkness”.
The men were arrested within two days of the robbery spree after they were seen wearing the same clothing in separate CCTV footage.
On one occasion, after raiding a One Stop Shop in Oundle Road, Thrapston, the men were seen leaving in Cornwall's mother's Fiesta.
When officers located Nimmo, who Judge Stokes felt had styled himself as 'some sort of gangster', he was sat in a stolen car in Tunwell Lane, Corby.
But when a plain-clothed female officer tried to restrain him, Nimmo slammed the car in reverse, dragging the officer 20 metres.
A second officer who used a baton to try to break the car window was also injured as the 19-year-old turned sharply to avoid capture.
The female officer was left with severe cuts and bruising following the incident on January 25 and has struggled to come to terms with the incident, the court heard, as have several of the victims.
"She felt that, had she not moved as quickly, the car would have hit her," added Mr Keeley.
Nimmo, who was eventually found hiding in a nearby bedroom, received the toughest sentence, eight years, for the robbery charges, dangerous driving and causing actual bodily harm.
Hall pleaded guilty to a dangerous driving offence committed while on bail for the robberies, in which he led police in an 18-minute chase around county roads, driving at one stage on the pavement.
He received six-and-a-half years for robbery and dangerous driving, while Cornwall was given a four-and-a-half year term.
Mitigating for Nimmo, Liam Muir said his client was willing to turn his life around in prison.
Speaking about the dangerous driving incident, he said: "His maturity is far below that [of a 19-year-old]. It was a moment of panic."
For Hall, Chris Harper said: "He recognises he has missed out on developing into the adult he might have done given the right opportunities.
And reading out a statement written by Cornwall himself in court, Derek Johashen said: "I simpy want to get on with my life now. I know what I have done, I am sorry."